Pat Robertson challenges creationism
Pat Robertson: "There was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible."
November 29th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Pat Robertson challenges creationism

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – Televangelist Pat Robertson challenged the idea that Earth is 6,000 years old this week, saying the man who many credit with conceiving the idea, former Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher, “wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years.”

The statement was in response to a question Robertson fielded Tuesday from a viewer on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club.” In a submitted question, the viewer wrote that one of her biggest fears was that her children and husband would not go to heaven “because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.”

“You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.”

Before answering the question, Robertson acknowledged the statement was controversial by saying, “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”

“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.

Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June. That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution.

The Gallup poll has not specifically asked about views on the age of the Earth.

Ussher’s work, from the mid-1600s, is widely cited by creationists as evidence that Earth is only a few thousand years old. Answer in Genesis, the famed Christian creationist ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, cites Ussher as proof of Earth’s age. They describe the archbishop as “a brilliant scholar who had very good reasons for his conclusions concerning the date of creation.”

For Christians who read the creation account in Genesis literally, the six days in the account are strictly 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution. Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth, and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old.

The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Charles Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859. By 1880, The American Naturalists, a science journal, reported nearly every major university in America was teaching evolution.

The question about Earth’s age has been in the news recently. Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida attempted to walk the line between science and faith-based creationism in remarks that that provoked the ire of liberal blogs and left the door open to creationism.

“I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio told GQ’s Micheal Hainey. “I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.”

- CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Creationism • Evolution

soundoff (4,408 Responses)
  1. WMesser58

    I hate to break the 666 comments. Isn't he DEAD YET!!!!!! Even Jerry Fawell had the good sense to go meet his maker instead of stirring up crap to seem relevant. roberts has never nor ever will be relevant!!!!! send your donates to me instead of him I'll put in a good word to my plastic jesus on the dashboard.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Lordy, Lordy.

      Buy yourself a sweet Madona dressed in rhinestone sitting on a pedastel of aboline shell.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  2. Mohammad A Dar

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years.."

    who wants to predict their political affiliation?

    November 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • DemFromSC

      I take up your challenge. They're all Republicans! Duh....

      November 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  3. Glock N. Spiel

    Let me ask again, is one of Gods days equal to 1,000 of our years, or is 1,000 of Gods years equal to one of our days?

    November 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Evangelical

      One of God's days = one of Earth's days

      November 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      Neither. No gods. Don't try to justify the crap with more crap.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      How did goad had a "day", and an "evening and morning", before there was such a thing. Just give it up.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • John A

      Can a man quantify eternity?

      December 1, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  4. tpobrienjr

    Dinosaurs in the Bible? ?? ???

    November 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  5. babooph

    All those "Christians" sell their religion out fast when they get sick-right to the evolution trained DR !Their politics also are more important than their ten commandments,putting all those Mormon Gods before them !!!

    November 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  6. PaulBel

    Congratulations, Mr. Robertson, on having the courage and conviction to speak reasonably and logically on a topic that has been such a point of contention over the years. I have rarely agreed with you in the past, but on these statements I am fully behind you.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  7. Beeksmeepmeep


    I guess the bible was written on an Etch -a- sketch.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  8. Evangelical

    Let us pray for Pat's repentance.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Lordy, Lordy.

      Well, here's to you Mr. Robertson, Jesus holds a place to those that fail, hey hey hey,,,,,Sorry Mr. Simon, I couldn't resist.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  9. sparky

    On the other hand, what he DIDN'T say is that evolution is true. Just that carbon dating is true.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Evangelical

      That's because evolution is evil and a flat-out lie.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Glock N. Spiel

      Evangelical, logic and reason are tools of Satan.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      YOU would use DNA to get out of prison. YOU are a liar. DNA proves Evolution. Ignorant fool.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • In God We Trust

      Evolution actually falls right in line with the story of creation. What the Bible says about the creation is that; in the begining God created the Heavens and the Earth. Science talks about time, space, and matter. the beginning (time) Heavens (space), Earth (matter). Science pretty much backs up the creation event written about in the Bible and other stories as well.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      The Bible backs up nothing. It's an ancient text, written for political purposes. Why are you SO desperate that it needs backing up ?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  10. Jesse

    If you put your faith in the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic, who got a lot of archaic people to believe "god" told him to kill his son, then miraculously "God" said no! don't do it.... You need to have your head checked. All three manor religions in the world today base their faith in this one story.

    Grow up!

    November 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • lol??

      I think sumpin' got lost in ur xlation.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  11. Anomic Office Drone

    Pat Robertson said that? That's downright rational.

    ...a doctor should probably check him out.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  12. sparky

    "'If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,' Robertson concluded."

    I never thought I'd live to see the day where he admitted something like that.

    Every so often he slips up and says something true, but it's never been on something this big. My mind will be blown for weeks.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • lawrencewinkler

      This is Pat Robertson - in the Twilight Zone.

      Back to his reality in a few moments.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  13. KeithL

    So, Pat Robertson and I actually agree on another issue?! Wow. He also believes cannabis should be legal. If Pat Robertson can come around on these issues, who says the rest of the religious community won't? I'm not holding my breat for it to happen any time soon.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  14. Steve

    Wow, I never thought I'd see the day when I was in total agreement with a perfectly logical statement made by Pat Robertson. Maybe the end really is near.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  15. brock

    I find it hard to belief that Gallup would claim that 46 % can actually believe in creationism, do these same folks believe in Santa,the Easter bunny and tooth fairy. I'am aware that church must be a feel good experience but come on! The religious folks seem to be so hateful to us that don't believe in this fairy tale. So you go to church to learn hatred. To me it sounds like 9th. grade behavior in school. Does science exist with you people!

    November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • In God We Trust

      God sure is a genious. He put dinasaur bones in the Earth and created it with the appearence of age. Only those with a strong faith in His Word have a broad enough mind to figure this out.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Robert

      What do you mean about Santa Brock ? Check out the Robot Chicken episode where he pays a visit to Coca cola to talk about royalties. Seemed mighty real to Me.
      Happy to see that Mr Robertson is learning more about our shared history. Must have watched a PBS show by accident. He still needs a bit of help figuring out our time line though, as he's getting Dinosaurs mixed up with preserved Mammals that are turning up in the North. A Wooly Mammoth is not a Dinosaur. It would be dee-lightful to find a partially preserved dinosaur just to see if Mr Spielberg got the colours right. In all seriousness though, if Mr. Robertson is finally waking up, the end must truly be near.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  16. Noodles

    Sue's right the bibile does talk about dinosaurs

    November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Jim

      The Bible talks about Leviathan's, Dragons, Satyrs, Unicorns and seven headed beasts. Havent seen any fossils of those.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  17. dl

    Most of this "6,000 year old earth" argument is just trying to put God in a box. I'm a poor example of a Christian but I do believe in him in my bones. Face the fact that the planet upon which we live exists in universe that consists of BILLIONS of CLUSTERS of galaxies; purportedly more than the grains of sand on the earth. We're insignificant even within our own galaxy! What makes us so special that everything God created revolves around us and this planet? The age of the planet is irrelevant to faith in God.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      Your bones have beliefs ? Have you ever examined what bones are made of ? Are your beliefs in the Calcium ?
      We are at the center of nothing. The universe is expanding in all directions. There IS no center. Grow up.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Steve

      I sound about the same as you. Except I add to it a little on the other side when people say "God created everything. If he didn't then how are you here?" I tell them well who then created some all powerful being that could magically create everything if nothing was here to begin with then. 🙂

      November 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • In God We Trust

      Because he is the beginning and he is the end. He has always been. It's hard for a man's mind to comprehend this.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Thomas J.

      dl was challenging Creationism is regards to Earth being at the center of the universe, Snake Oil Salesman. They were addressing Creationists when they said "face facts." The "center" sentence you took issue with started with an interrogative and ended with a question mark; It wasn't a statement but a question challenging Creationist beliefs. You would have been better off if you had, instead of telling them to grow up, ended your post with: "San Dimas football rules!"

      November 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  18. steve

    “I know that people will probably try to lynch me " Hell no. I wish more Christians would get intelligent and understand that science is not the enemy of religion. Science though is the basis of all things .... who knows maybe God uses science to make the universe.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • brian

      Sadly he was referring to "Christians" when he said that.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  19. n

    I think it's fantastic Pat finally said something non-crazy.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • irbsod

      Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  20. leonid7

    There always seems to be this battle between science and the bible, Darwin and God. But one thing we do know for a fact: Darwin actually wrote his book.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Yeah, but he was high when he did it.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • thoughtnothing

      Brilliantly stated:) Can't refute that truth.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • In God We Trust

      Darwin evolved his beliefs that there was God and there had to be a Creator. Everything was timed perfectly.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.